Contribution of phonological and broader language skills to literacy

Jill Fraser, Gina Conti-Ramsden

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Recent models of reading ability propose that both phonological and broader language skills are important for the development of literacy. Whilst there are numerous studies that consider the role of phonological skills in literacy, fewer studies have considered the role of broader language skills and reading proficiency. Aims: To examine how phonological skills and broader language skills relate to word reading (including speeded word reading), non-word reading, spelling, and reading comprehension. Methods and Procedures: Seventy-one children (mean age=10.10; 21 girls) with a wide range of reading and language abilities took part in the study. A number of tasks were administered that measured phonological skills (phonological awareness, phonological short-term memory) and broader language skills (vocabulary, morphology, sentence correction, and sentence processing). Outcomes and Results: In support of previous work, both phonological and broader language abilities predicted reading and spelling. The exception was the timed single-word-reading task that was influenced by vocabulary. Reading comprehension was solely predicted by broader language abilities. Conclusions: Both phonological and broader language abilities are involved in the development of reading and spelling, but in the case of reading comprehension, broader language skills are crucial. © 2008 Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)552-569
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


    • Broader language skills
    • Literacy
    • Phonological skills


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